Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Dawn of Christmas By: Cindy Woodsmall

I loved this story by Cindy Woodsmall. The Dawn of Christmas is a story of two Amish people, Sadie and Levi. They’ve both been hurt by love and are determined to not get married, regardless of the expectations from others. When Levi is thrown from a horse and Sadie finds him, they spend more and more time together while pushing away their growing feelings for each other. Sadie has been hurt by Daniel. Right before their wedding she caught him with another woman. How can she ever trust another man again? She’d rather do mission work and not deal with it. Levi was hurt when his brother’s wife left him and his son. They now live with Levi. Levi can’t see putting his heart in the hands of someone who will just up and leave without notice. I was pleasantly surprised this wasn’t another story of we both don’t want to get married, let’s do it since we both know we aren’t going to fall in love, and then they do. The Dawn of Christmas is a very sweet romance between two people and Cindy Woodsmall draws you into their deepening relationship. Their distrust of each other comes to a head with words from Sadie’s ex-fiancĂ©, Daniel. Does she care that now Levi won’t have anything to do with her? Isn’t it for the best since they were getting too close? Read this wonderful romance to find out!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mail-Order Mistletoe Brides By: Jillian Hart and Janet Tronstad

This book contains two stories, Christmas Hearts by Jillian Hart and Mistletoe Kiss in Dry Creek by Janet Tronstad. I love anything written by these two authors. They are great together! The book starts out with two women, Mercy Jacobs and Maeve Flanagan, riding a train to meet their new husbands. They have answered mail-order bride ads and are on their way to meet their husbands. Christmas Hearts is Mercy Jacobs’ story. She has a son George that needs a father and Cole Matheson needs a mother for his daughter Amelia. Will their marriage remain in name only or will they find true love? Cole’s wife has died and he figures since Mercy’s husband has died that she’ll understand. But he has nothing left to give. His heart is broken and grief has filled him. Can Mercy help him to love again? Mercy fills Cole’s life with grace and humor, loving his daughter as her own. Will she find what she needs in Cole? Mistletoe Kiss in Dry Creek is Maeve Flanagan’s story. Her husband was killed and she needs a father for her daughter and unborn child. Noah Miller needs a cook for his ranch hands. Maeve decides she can do that, and hopefully Noah will decide he likes her enough to go ahead and marry even if she is already pregnant. But what happens when Noah’s ex-wife shows up? Will he still marry Maeve? Or will he remarry his ex? These two stories are great and I can’t wait to read more! For a great Christmas read, pick up this book today. I received this book free from Janet Tronstad in exchange for a review.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What Once Was Lost By: Kim Vogel Sawyer

I loved this book by Sawyer. I hadn’t read one of her books before, but I was hooked from the first page with this one. What Once Was Lost is about Christina Willems who runs the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor and has to prove she is the woman for the job. After a fire causes the residents to find another place to stay while it’s being rebuilt, others want to shut the place down and displace the residents for good. Christina fights for them and their place to live. Will the residents of the town help her or must she fight them too? Levi Johnson is a reclusive mill owner and Christina approaches him to take in Tommy Kilgore. He is a blind boy who needs a home while the Brambleville Asylum is being rebuilt. Can Christina convince him to take in the boy? Can he help Tommy? He can’t see, but he feels responsible for the fire. Was it his fault? I loved this romance story. It’s filled with mystery, suspense, romance, and Christina’s strong attachment to the residents of Brambleville Asylum. I will definitely read more books by this author! If you love sweet romances, this book is for you! I received this book from Waterbrook Press Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

This is Your Captain Speaking By: Gavin MacLeod

Have you ever read a book and just smiled when you finished reading it? This is one of those books. I loved reading MacLeod’s story of his life. When I got the chance to review this book from Booksneeze, I jumped at the chance. I grew up watching The Love Boat and I wanted to read the Captain’s story. I laughed, cried, cheered, cringed, and felt at peace as MacLeod told his life’s story from wanting to act from a young age to spending the rest of his life telling people about Jesus. What a remarkable actor! Who did MacLeod team up with when he was first starting out? How did he become the captain of The Love Boat? Want the scoop on some of Hollywood’s top actors and actresses? It’s all in this book. From MacLeod realizing his identity comes through his Lord and Savior and his relationship to God, to God having control over what happened in his life, you’ll find it all here in this very candid biography of his life, his loses, and everything he’s gained. I recommend this book for anyone who remembers the Captain, or anyone wanting to see an encouraging voyage through Hollywood. MacLeod’s faith shines through to the end. He inspires me to do all I can for Christ.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Strait of Hormuz By: Davis Bunn

This is the third book in the Mark Royce adventure series. The first two are Lion of Babylon and Rare Earth. I loved all of these books! Marc Royce and Kitra reunite in Strait of Hormuz to come against Iran’s threat to blockade the narrow Strait of Hormuz, which would cut off vital shipping routes and escalate global tensions. Can Marc and Kitra stop them before it’s too late? As with all of the books in this series, there are bombings, fights, and chases. If you’re looking for a great adventure, look no further. No one is who they seem, and Marc must figure out who is a friend and who is the enemy. As Kitra realizes, it is never too late to turn to God and trust Him. She states, “But with God, all things may come to pass.” Once she realizes she’s doing things for the wrong reasons, manipulating people to do her will, she prays for help, strength, wisdom, and healing. God will hear. You are never too far away. No matter how far you’ve gone from God, it is only one step back. Pick up this great read today and follow Marc and Kitra’s journey to protect the Strait of Hormuz! I look forward to reading many more stories by this very talented author! I received a complimentary copy of Strait of Hormuz from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. Plot Synopsis An under-the-radar phone call from the U.S. State Department puts Marc Royce once again on assignment—ferreting out rumors of a clandestine operation stretching from Asia to the Mideast. At stake is Iran’s threat to blockade the narrow Strait of Hormuz, cutting off vital shipping routes and escalating global tensions beyond the breaking point. Under the guise of investigating money laundering via high-end art purchases in Europe, Royce finds himself in Switzerland with only sketchy information, no backup, and without a single weapon other than his wits. His appointment with a gallery owner in Geneva is a dead end--the man is on the floor with a bullet through his chest. But it turns out Royce does have backup. The Mossad has sent someone to keep an eye on this undercover op, which is of more than casual interest to the Israelis. And it's someone Royce knows... About Davis Bunn Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Defined by readers and reviewers as a "wise teacher," "gentleman adventurer," "consummate writer," and "Renaissance man," his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages. Strait of Hormuz is the series finale of the popular Marc Royce Adventures. Library Journal named Lion of Babylon (Book 1) a “Best Book of 2011.” Rare Earth (Book 2) won the 2013 Christy Award for best suspense novel and was a CBA top 20 best-seller. Q & A with Davis Bunn Q: The first two books in the Marc Royce series have been bestsellers and also won praise from the critics. Lion of Babylon won the Library Journal’s Best Book of 2011 award, and Rare Earth won the 2013 Christy Award for Suspense Fiction. What do you see is behind this success? Davis Bunn: The stories have certainly resonated with readers. I have tried to develop a strong sense of unfolding drama, combined with a unique spiritual theme. This moral structure plays out both in the story and the characters. My aim is to create an inspirational challenge that remains with the reader long after the book has been set down. Q: This story includes two special components from your early life. Tell us about them. DB: My mother worked as an antiques dealer. In truth, ‘work’ was not really the correct term, because this was a passion she inherited from her mother. They bonded while my mom was still a child, going to small eastern Carolina towns and hunting around junk stores for the sort of bargains that don’t exist anymore. Their first love was early Americana, a type of colonial furniture known as Jacobean that predated America’s nationhood. I never really shared this passion, but in two previous books I came to respect and admire those who do. And so I knew a great delight in re-entering this world in Strait of Hormuz, only this time at the very highest end. Strait takes place in the rarified world of multi-million dollar art, where the richest of collectors vie with museums and galleries for items that are no longer classed as antiques, but rather as treasures The second special component was the location. I lived in Switzerland for almost five years, and many of the venues were places where I worked, and walked, and came to discover myself as an author. Q: In what way is the setting important to this book? DB: The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most critical waterways. Stretching between Iran and the Gulf States, the strait us home to two US fleets. More than a third of all the oil consumed worldwide pass through these waters. But the story actually begins in Switzerland, before traveling to the Sinai and then into the hotly-contested Strait of Hormuz. Q: What spiritual theme is the focus of this story? DB: One growing area of the missionary church movement is with displaced persons. More than five million Iranians have been expelled from their homeland, or been forced to flee the current regime. This includes virtually the entire Christian population. The missionary church movement has made enormous strides in bringing peace to these families and introducing Christ into the world of Muslims fleeing a Muslim government. Q: What drew you to the missionary church movement as a theme? DB: I came to faith in a missionary church. I was working as a consultant based in Germany. The year I accepted Christ, the Southern Baptist Mission Board founded a missionary church in Dusseldorf. I attended the church, I grew in the church, I studied under two amazing pastors, and one of them returned to Europe to marry us. It was also where I learned to write. Two weeks after coming to faith, I felt called to writing. I wrote for nine years and completed seven books before my first was accepted for publication. The church, its members, and the elders all played a critical role in bringing me to where I am now. I am living testimony to the vital role played by the missionary church. Q: All three of the books in this series have given significant insight into the Muslim world, something critics have picked up on. What experience do you have with this region? DB: For the four years prior to moving to Germany, I lived and worked in the Middle East. I was the only non-Muslim in the management structure of a family-owned company. They had three major arms: construction equipment, shipping, and pharmaceuticals. I rose to become Marketing Manager of the pharmaceutical division. One of the requirements of this job was to take instruction in the Koran and Islamic history from an imam who taught at the local university. I think this experience played a major role in my coming to Christ. Q: How can readers find you on the Internet? DB:My website and blog are at Subscribe to my blog’s feed (to get my latest posts via e-mail or through your feed reader) at Sign up for my e-newsletter (for subscriber-only giveaways and advance notice of my upcoming novels): Facebook Author Page: Pinterest: -- check out my “Strait of Hormuz” board at Twitter: @davisbunn - Sweepstakes Help Davis Bunn celebrate the publication of “Strait of Hormuz.” Enter to win His & Hers Luxury Swiss Watches or a $150 Amazon Gift Card! You can enter once per email address per day. Rack up bonus entries by sharing the contest with your Facebook and Twitter friends!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Wayfinding Bible

I love this Bible! You can go through the Bible in one of three ways: the flyover route, the direct route, and the scenic route. Included in the Bible are book introductions, historical markers, scenic overlooks, and side trips. If you want to get more out of your Bible reading, this Bible is for you! There are even maps that show where these events took place in current places so you’ll know where it was located. The flyover route takes you through 54 readings giving you a chronological overview of the events in the Bible. The direct route can be completed in 215 readings rewarding you with a full perspective of the entire Bible and how it fits together, all in less than a year. Want to take your time and soak up God’s word? Take the scenic route! In 386 readings you’ll read through well-known and not-so-well-known passages to discover the depth and richness of God’s Word. Each route is clearly marked so you’ll know where to start and where to go next. For an exciting way to read the Bible, pick up your copy of The Wayfinding Bible today! I received a copy of this Bible free in exchange for an honest review from Tyndale.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Epic Grace By: Kurt Bubna

Ever feel like you’ve messed up royally? That there is no going back? Or, how can God use me now that I’ve gone too far? Read this book about Bubna’s personal stories of messing up, giving up, and feeling overwhelmed. You’ll laugh, cry, cheer, and groan as you read through Bubna’s journey. You’ll learn that God is the God of second chances; His epic grace can transform even the most imperfect life into something priceless. In these stories, you will see traces of yourself. I did that; I thought that. And you know what Bubna does with these stories? He ties them in with Biblical truths. I loved the chapter on Bushwacked. “Sometimes we parents have the best of intentions as we lead our little troops forward into adulthood, but things don’t turn out like we planned or hoped.” Can you relate to this? What do we do then? You’ll hear an accusing voice saying you’ve messed up your kids, that you’re to blame. However, what matters most are hope, faith, and love. “Hope in a God who can take our mistakes and redeem anything surrendered to him. Faith in a God who is bigger than our failures, no matter what they are. Love from a Father who will never give up on us and wants us never to give up on him.” God knows we’ll mess up; he offers compassion, comfort, and help. We can’t do it alone. Pick this book up today to find God’s Epic Grace for your life.

Starry Night By: Debbie Macomber

What a great, fun read by Debbie Macomber! Are you looking for a delightful romance that will take you away and leave you sighing at the end? Look no further. This is the best Christmas romance you will ever read. Carrie Slayton wants to write real news about interesting people. But she’s stuck reporting the society news. Her boss tells her if she can snag an interview with recluse author Finn Dalton, she can pick any assignment she wants. The problem? Dalton is hiding out in Alaska and doesn’t want to be found. Can Carrie find him even though many other reporters are looking for him and have come up empty handed? If she does find him, how can she get him to talk when he is bound and determined not to? Carrie will have to decide between pursuing her dream and finding her future. Which does she choose? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Eve of Awakening By: Alisa Hope Wagner

Alisa Wagner is a fresh, new voice in Christian dystopian futuristic fiction. Even after finishing the story, I can’t get Eve Pallue out of my head. She searches for truth, trying to figure out how who she is, struggling to find her true friends. Everything people today search for, Eve searches for, but in the future where there are no freedoms and everyone follows the same rules, trying to get ahead of everyone else by producing information plugged into their Life Production System (LPS). The more information they produce, the higher their standing. Eve sleeps in a sleeper at night to minimize the amount of sleep she needs and it malfunctions. She has an awakening that causes her to have flashbacks from when she was younger. Eve is an Elite Efficientist. Colonials are lower class. She is the top Efficientist as the daughter of Arthur Pallue, who had groomed her to take this position. If you love futuristic stories you will love this one. Descriptions make everything understandable and believable. I cannot wait to read more by this author. Who is Randall, Eve’s bodyguard? Is he who he seems? The woman Eve starts dreaming about, how does she figure into what is going on? How does God fit in the future? All time is spent producing information; there isn’t extra time for hobbies, religion, or other frivolously spent moments of time. Eve has developed Life Plethoricity, a new way of doing things; music is banned— it causes emotional stimuli, which consumes energy and inhibits efficiency. Eve of Awakening is a great, fun futuristic read. You’ll come to care for Eve and not want her story to end! Along the way, you’ll discover God’s truth and love are not far away.

Forgiveness By: Matthew West

Do you need to forgive someone or need to ask for forgiveness? Being angry at someone fills you with bitterness; it can also cause side effects. The Bible even warns us of what those could be: disorder, more unforgiveness, lies, and blindness. You can’t just feel forgiveness. You have to speak it. Do you know who the hardest person is to forgive? Yourself. That person that looks at you every morning in the mirror. But God says, “’There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1 NIV). No matter how unlovable you feel, you are loved.” Once you realize this, you can reach all the others in the world who think they are unlovable too. You can’t earn forgiveness. All you have to do is accept that Jesus’ death on the cross covered all your sins. No sin is too big or too small. Jesus died for all. Forgiveness fills your life, your heart, your soul with peace. This book is based off of Matthew West’s song Forgiveness. The meaning is epitomized in, “The prisoner that you really free is you.” You may not realize it, but withholding forgiveness keeps you from fully realizing God’s love, joy, peace, and grace. This book is filled with stories from people who needed to give forgiveness or ask for forgiveness from others. Read their stories, see their burdens of guilt and anger released, and realize you can be free from feelings of resentment and self-righteousness. I received this book from Booksneeze in exchange for a review.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Force By: Alexandra and Joyce Swann

I loved The Force! From the first page I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading. Power, intrigue, mystery, suspense, thriller, and God’s grace and forgiveness permeate throughout this story. If you like a book filled with twists and suspense, this is the book for you. Read this latest Christian medical thriller from the Swanns! Alexander Sinclair taught his twin sons, Joshua and Jarrod, that there is a difference between force and power. The Devil has force; God has power—power to create, power to protect, and power to help us in every situation. Fred Kowalski retired from the New York City Police Department and then comes across the greatest case of his career. He will need God’s power as he comes against the force of Josef Helmick. Hollywood sex symbol clones are turning up dead. Even their DNA matches the dead movie stars, like Marilynn Monroe, Sophie Lauren, and Audrey Hepburn. Where are they coming from? Helmick supplies them to wealthy men to use them as sex slaves, or to torture and murder. The Sinclairs consult for GenCEN—the Genetic Crimes Enforcement Network, which is an international police force that ensures all genetic research and innovation meet carefully-established international guidelines. They agree to consult on the case, and when they realize it can only involve Josef Helmick, they are ready to prove him guilty. Believing Helmick lured their parents to his father’s home and killed them, they hire Fred to track him down and get the proof to put him away. Along the way, Jarrod and Joshua must come to terms with their parents’ deaths and with Helmick’s involvement. Helmick is using hypnosis to control everyone. He is in possession of a means to control the thoughts of billions of people to transform the world. Can Fred and the Sinclairs stop him? Why is he cloning these movie stars, and what is his ulterior motive in controlling the thoughts of billions of people? You’ll have to pick up this book to see! The Force is the sequel to The Fourth Kingdom, but you don’t have to read it first to follow what is going on. For the best Christian medical thriller, check out the Swanns’ The Force!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Home for My Heart By Anne Mateer

I loved this book by Anne Mateer! If you like a book that will tug at your heartstring this book is for you. Sadie Sillsby is a wonderful character. She’s assistant to the matron at the Raystown Home for Orphan & Friendless Children. She loves these children as her own. She understands them as no one else could; she grew up there as well. All she remembers as a child is being brought there when she was four years old from her mother’s jail cell. Blaine Wellsmith and his younger brother Carter came to the home as well. He has since moved out, but he and Sadie are going to get married as soon as he buys land. Carter keeps getting into trouble, one little girl needs glasses, the Home is struggling financially, and the matron has decided to marry and turn over the position to Sadie. That should be a happy time, right? Unfortunately, the matron cannot be married. Sadie can’t turn her back on these kids. Who will take care of them? But Blaine doesn’t want to wait. He now has the farm and it’s time to get married. Can Sadie overcome her past to be the matron she needs to be? Can she turn the Home around so it doesn’t have to shut its door? Will Blaine wait for her? Pick up this book today to find out! The plot keeps twisting and the characters will touch your heart. You’ll wish you could take a boy or girl home with you by the time you finish this book! I look forward to reading more by this author.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Bride for Keeps By: Melissa Jagears

I have found another favorite author! From the first novella, Love by the Letter, I was hooked. A Bride for Keeps, Jagears debut full-length novel, grabs you from the first page. I read this book in two days. Julia Lockwood thinks she has to do more and more work on the homestead to make her worthy in Everett’s eyes. As with God’s love, it is not works alone that saves you, but faith. Julia must learn to love Everett Cline and accept his love for her. Can she do that with her past clouding her vision of what her life should be like? She has been abused by men in the past and can’t comprehend that Everett might love her for herself. Everett has sought three mail-order brides before Julia. One died before she arrived and two others married someone else once they got to town. Can he release his heart to Julia even though he’s afraid she will up and leave also? Everett must learn to trust, God and Julia. As I was reading this, a line spoke to me. “But you just told me you loved me, and those words have already wiped away the hardship. I would have gone through anything to have you say that to me.” As a mother, we say this when we have kids. Even though it involves pain to have a child we go through it. God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. Even before we were saved, He loved us and died for us. Just to hear us say we love Him, makes it all worth it. May I never forget to tell Him I love Him. I did not want this book to end. I love the characters, the messages, the romance. Cannot wait to read the next book by Melissa Jagears!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Civil War Reminiscences From the journal of Harmon Camburn, Union Soldier Edited by: P C Zick

I really enjoyed this diary from Harmon Camburn. He was a Union soldier in the 2nd Michigan Infantry, 1861-1864. This book is the journal that Harmon Camburn wrote following the details of his life as a Union soldier. What you read is what he saw, smelled, touched, heard, and felt during his service through the Civil War. As stated in the introduction, you get Camburn’s account of what affected him, but not the bigger picture of the war. If you are looking for a personalized view of what soldiers dealt with, this is the book for you. Inserted throughout the book, in bold, are short blurbs about the greater war that corresponds to specific dates listed in the journal. I enjoy reading about history, but to get a personal account of an event is wonderful. The personal perspective gives a greater understanding of what happened. One entry that I still think about was, “At daylight, the rain ceased, and the clouds rolled away. The sun, bright and beautiful, sent its piercing beams through the trees glittering with raindrops. The sight was a joy to the soldiers’ hearts, but the thought of the dead and wounded lying out there in the slashing was a gloomy background to all present pleasures. The early morning scene among the trees was weird and supernatural.” I feel like I’m there and am experiencing it as they are. Some things Camburn didn’t understand why they were doing what they were doing; he just did as he was told. Having a personal perspective of the war, and it being tied together with the bolded blurbs, gives a greater perspective and brings the Civil War to life in a new way.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Love by the Letter By: Melissa Jagears

I loved this novella by Melissa Jagears! It’s an Inspirational western comedic drama-filled romance. Dex Stanton has two girls vying for his attention; only he doesn’t know it. He sent a letter for a mail-order bride. She shows up unexpectedly about the time he has decided to take a chance on a lady in his hometown, Rachel Oliver. But he’d already decided he couldn’t have Rachel. She was too smart for him. She wanted to go off to college and he couldn’t write or spell very well. So, instead of letting her decide what she’d want, he took the decision out of her hands. Does he throw away his one chance at true love? You’ll have to read this novella to find out. Dex must learn to wait and trust in God. You have to ask to receive. Rachel is learning knock and the door shall be opened. Should she go to college or stay and marry Dex? What does God want her to do? What about the mail-ordered stranger that shows up? This is one novella you don’t want to miss. And then you can read more with A Bride For Keeps, Melissa Jagears debut full-length novel. I can’t wait to read it next!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gunpowder Tea By: Margaret Brownley

I thoroughly enjoyed this story by Margaret Brownley! What happens when you pair a Pinkerton detective and a Wells Fargo detective trying to catch the Phantom? Mystery and mayhem on a cattle ranch! Miranda Hunt’s father had been killed three years ago. Eleanor Walker owns a ranch where the Phantom is thought to be hiding. She has posted an ad for an heiress to inherit her ranch, but the stipulation is she can’t marry or she forfeits the ranch. Miranda answers the ad so she can hunt for the Phantom while she’s there. Only, she causes more trouble than she bargained for. Throw into the mix a handsome Wells Fargo detective, Miranda’s competition, and you end up with a funny, heart-touching romance on the range. Can Miranda figure out who the Phantom is before it’s too late? Is it the Wells Fargo detective? For Miranda, it would be good if it was. Then she could control her feelings toward him. Is it someone on the ranch? Pick up this story today to enjoy the search for the Phantom as Miranda tries to figure out who it is.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Unlimited By Davis Bunn

I loved this book by Davis Bunn. This is the second book I’ve read of his and I will buy a book just because he wrote it. I am hooked! Unlimited is filled with action, mystery, suspense, and God’s love and forgiveness. Simon Orwell is trying to get to Mexico to apologize to his former professor Dr Vasquez for his actions. He doesn’t fully understand what this means, but he is going to give it a try. He needs to make restitution for what he has done; he put his professor in danger and now he needs to make it right. However, by the time he arrives to help Dr Vasquez in his time of need, he has been killed. They were working together on converting raw wasted energy into useable power. Harold Finch is the Mexican orphanage proprietor. Enrique Morales is the mayor of Ojinaga. Pedro Martin is the assistant town manager. Dr Clara leads the city council meeting. Who can Simon trust while he researches how to put the apparatus back together and studies how to make it work without causing a black-out? Who is trying to kill him so he won’t complete his mission? Why was Dr Vasquez killed? People aren’t who they seem. Just when you think you have someone figured out, something happens to change your mind. Who can Simon trust? With vivid descriptions and intricate characterizations, I was drawn into this story and didn’t want to put the book down. I can’t wait to read more by this author!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Orphan Train Bride By: Teresa Ives Lilly

This story by Teresa Lilly is captivating! Tommy is Holly’s brother and they live in New York in an orphanage. He leaves on the Orphan Train with the other orphans. Holly is sick when he leaves so she can’t go with him. The next year, at 18, she is too old to go, but the orphanage lets her stay on at the orphanage as a seamstress. Jake Carson adopts Tommy and he works with him in his mercantile shop in Golden, Colorado. Tommy and Jake talk about sending for Holly, but Jake doesn’t have enough money for her fare. Holly worries about Tommy; she’s received two letters from him, but she wants to see him and make sure he is ok. She wonders what a Colorado Christmas would be like. She is soon to find out! God works it out where she can get a ride on the Orphan Train and find a place to stay in Golden, Colorado. But can she find a way to see Tommy? Will Jake let her take Tommy when she finds a home of her own? Pick up this great Christmas story that will have you smiling and cheering to the end. Holly and Jake will steal your heart as you read their story. I can’t wait to read more stories by Teresa Lilly!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Homeless at Harvard By: John Christopher Frame

After reading this book, I was left with my thoughts about homelessness and what I had originally thought and how that thought had changed. Homeless at Harvard is a work of nonfiction based on perspective, notes, and recollection of events while John lived on the streets with the homeless while he attended Harvard. While on the streets, he met Neal, Dane, George, and Chubby John who shared their stories with him and are presented here. One thing John does realize is that there are good and bad in every walk of life. John wanted to apply his interest in homelessness to his studies in his classes at Harvard. He met George and he showed him the ropes and introduced him to other homeless people. How does the path to homelessness begin? Sometimes it can start with children growing up in dysfunctional families; sometimes it is the decisions of the people on the streets, addicted to drugs and alcohol, that lands them on the streets and they’re stuck there; or it could be mental illness. Once they are living on the streets, it’s like the street won’t let them go. One observation that John makes is that he now views homeless people as victims of the unfortunate actions of others. Sometimes it isn’t their fault they are on the streets. Sometimes they just need a hand to get to a better place. One thing John said that stuck with me was that if there was a stray dog outside, somebody would take it in. But if it’s a person, they won’t do anything about it. They judge them by other homeless people they’ve met or seen. Thank you, John, for making their voices heard. I received this e-book from Net Galley in exchange for reading and reviewing it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Made to Last By: Melissa Tagg

I loved this debut novel by Melissa Tagg! It is a romantic comedy that is fun to read. Once I started Made to Last, I didn’t want to put it down. I wanted to see how it would end. Will Miranda end up with Robbie Pontero the love of her life, Matthew Knox the reporter following her around writing his blog, or Blaze Hunziker the stand in husband. You’ll have to read the book to find out, but be warned. You will get pulled in and think about these characters long after you finish the book! Miranda has it all—fabulous home-building show, money, marriage, or is she really married? Where is her husband she keeps talking about? Will Matthew learn her secret and spill it in his blog? What will happen to her show then? In order to save her show, she better produce him quickly. Blaze looks like Robbie so he becomes the stand-in husband. Can Miranda fool her fans and Matthew into believing Blaze is her husband? But what happens when Robbie comes back? Hilarious escapades break out, culminating at the Giving Heart Award ceremony. I won’t tell you what happens; you’ll have to read the book to find out! Miranda is hiding behind her secrets. Matthew has secrets he’d rather others not know about. Blaze is willing to put his life on hold to pose as Miranda’s husband. What does he have to hide? This story is about being the real thing, not hiding behind secrets; letting the truth out to find true freedom. The pastor sums it up when he says what does God see in us that we don’t? Because when all the stuff we’re hiding behind is stripped away, it’s what He sees that’s left. So what does He see? His creation. Forgiven. Whole. Enough. Identity is found in Jesus. Not in who we think we are, who others think we are, or even in who we attempt to be. I cannot wait to read more by Melissa Tagg. Her book is filled with charm, laughter, and romance. You won’t be disappointed!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rebellious Heart By: Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund does an excellent job of loosely recreating the account of John and Abigail Adams’ courtship years in Rebellious Heart. Susanna Smith is a woman of status and higher learning is off limits to her, even though she has an intelligent mind and wants to learn so much more. Benjamin Ross is a poor country lawyer who aspires to marry above his station, but will he be satisfied with that? Or will Susanna steal his heart when he realizes she has grown up? Can Susanna accept Ben for who he really is, even if her mother thinks he isn’t good enough for her? Susanna and her mother help the less fortunate. One day Susanna rescues an indentured servant. She can be punished severely for helping her, but Dotty is being abused. Can Susanna just turn her back? Or will she go against everything she’s been taught and help the young woman in trouble? Ben is drawn into Susanna’s plight to help Dotty. Can he keep them both safe? Or will he lose everything he’s fought to gain to keep them out of the enemy’s clutches? Once you pick this book up, you won’t be able to put it back down. Jody Hedlund does an excellent job of weaving a romantic tale set in Colonial times and incorporating events and situations common to that era like smuggling, indentured servants, and slaves. Long after you finish this story, you will still be thinking about the characters!

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Hope Is Found By: Joanne Bischof

I absolutely loved this book by Joanne Bischof! She has found her niche in writing Appalachian romance. This is the third book in The Cadence of Grace series. It is better to read these in order so you can follow what is going on with the characters and what issues they have faced. In book two, Cassie had released Gideon from his marriage to her. He is now on his way back to Lonnie and his son Jacob. I was so hooked on this book I couldn’t even read the last few pages first to see what happened, which is saying a lot for me! I knew how I thought the story should go, but I wasn’t sure if that was going to happen or not. Joanne Bischof filled this story with romance, suspense, and peace and hope only found in God. Gideon has doubts about his life, his self worth, and his goodness for Lonnie. When he reads the Bible, he finds Peter doubted also. But God’s redemptive love doesn’t stop for doubts, fears, or feelings of unworthiness. His love is for everyone to partake. And once you do, peace and hope abound. Toby McKee has been there for Lonnie while Gideon was away. Will he just walk away when Gideon comes back into the picture? Toby and Gideon are vying for Lonnie’s heart. Only one has it, but which one is it? Toby and Gideon are like two roosters in the henhouse. Their antics will have you laughing out loud and cringing in sympathy. Which one do you think deserves her heart? You’ll have to read the book to find out, but you’ll be glad you did. All the twists and turns in this story will have you turning the page, pulling you into the story and the heart-wrenching emotions. Can’t wait to see what Joanne Bischof has up her sleeve next! She is the author to watch!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Stranded By: Dani Pettrey

I loved this latest book in the Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey!! This is Gage and Darcy’s story. If you haven’t read the other books in the series, you can read them out of order, but to know what is going on with the other characters, it is better to read them in order. Gage is dealing with his past, but can he put it behind him to find a future with Darcy? She is on the Alaskan cruise to help her journalist friend Abby with a story. But by the time she gets on board, Abby is missing. Darcy is tenacious in trying to find out what happened to Abby and the other victims who have turned up missing. Darcy had convinced herself that she let her friend die when she was younger and she isn’t about to let this chance get by her without doing all she can to keep Abby and the others safe. The McKennas are on board leading adventure activities and kayak excursions. Why is God bringing Gage and Darcy back together? What covert activities are going on onboard the ship? Can Gage and Darcy solve the mystery before other people turn up missing? Dani Pettrey does an excellent job of creating realistic characters, tension-filled situations, and threading God’s love throughout the story. Will Gage turn his life over to God and accept God’s saving grace in order to have a future with Darcy? Can they figure out what has happened to the victims before it’s too late? You won’t believe the twists and turns in this book! Once you start the book you won’t be able to put it down until you know what is going on and how it works out. I am looking forward to reading more by this very talented author!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mrs. Poe By: Lynn Cullen

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. I love Edgar Allan Poe, but I wasn’t sure how a book about his mistress would shed any light on him the writer. But, I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It is based on Poe’s life, his writings, and his mistress Frances Sargent Osgood. Mrs. Poe is a work of fiction, but you can learn a lot about Poe, his life, his family, and others prominent people in this time frame. Many well-known names are mentioned in this book including Mr. Rufus Griswold, Walter Whitman, and Mr. Longfellow. It was great reading these names and getting a glimpse of their lives as well. Lynn Cullen does a great job of setting up the story about how Edgar and Frances meet, exchange poems, and fall in love. She also describes how they were treated and talked about because of their love for each other. Virginia Poe was more vindictive than I thought she was concerning Edgar’s and Frances’ relationship. You never knew what she was going to do next. But was it really her trying to harm Frances and her family or was it someone else? You’ll have to read the book to find out! Great job of weaving fact into fiction!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

If the Shoe Fits A Contemporary Fairy Tale By: Sandra D Bricker

This is the first book I have read by Sandra Bricker. If the Shoe Fits is a modern day Cinderella story a bit on the cheeky side. I laughed, cried, and cheered for Julianne and Will. At times they exasperated me as well. How much does Julianne have to go through before she realizes, if ever, that Will might be what she has been looking for all along? How long will Will wait before he lets Julianne know what everyone else has known for years? Julianne Bartlett and Will Hanes have been friends since childhood. They even went to law school together. They open a law office together and hire a receptionist who isn’t all she claims to be. Will has been around since childhood, but Prince Charming can’t show up on a bicycle and be a best friend, can he? He must show up riding on a white horse, or walking down the middle of the street rescuing a dog, losing his toolbox and a work shoe in the process. Julianne doesn’t want to ruin her friendship with Will by muddling it up with something more personal. She is infatuated with the idea of Prince Charming and she can’t see what is right under her nose. If you enjoy a romantic comedy with loveable characters without the standard storyline, you will love this book! Julianne has a penchant for fairy tales and can’t see a love happening without following the proper prerequisites. The ending is well worth the wait—you will laugh and cry at the same time. Enjoy! I look forward to reading more by this talented author.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Robert Griffin III Athlete, Leader, Believer By: Ted Kluck

If you like football, you’ll enjoy this book. Ted Kluck researches RGIII’s life, but he also analyzes other football players. From players that have been around a while, to players just starting out, Kluck compares and contrasts their styles and staying power. At one point, Kluck states, “As far as I can tell, Griffin worked like an animal and engineered his life so that it would turn out pretty much exactly the way that it’s turned out so far. Few people would be willing to put in the work that Griffin put in along the way. He was also, clearly, blessed with an outsized portion of God-given raw talent and has been allowed by God to thus far navigate the puzzle of high school, recruitment, injury, coaching, and other outside factors almost perfectly.” Others have tried to do what Griffin has accomplished up to this point, but didn’t have the drive, determination, or talent to keep going. Griffin knew at an early age this is what he wanted to do and he and his family orchestrated events to make it happen, from practicing, lifting, to playing. He was also class president and ranked seventh in his graduating class. After reading this book, it will be interesting to see how far he goes and what he accomplishes along the way. Want to read about Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham, or Vince Young? There are sections on these and other players as well. The title is misleading, as you think the book will be solely about RGIII; it isn’t. Football and quarterbacks through the years would have been a more appropriate title. There are unanswered questions in the book because the author didn’t ask. Kluck gives you an all around view of football and the life of football as he talks about RGIII. He also voices his opinions and views of players and what he perceives happening. For an analytical view of football, I highly recommend this book. For a closer look at the life of RGIII, you won’t find it here. I received this book free from Booksneeze, Thomas Nelson publishers, in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Vertical Leap By: Bill Rieser

This is Bill Rieser’s brutally honest journey from sinner to saved by grace. At a young age he was nicknamed “White Jesus” because of his miraculous feats on the basketball court. But his basketball abilities wouldn’t be enough to help him survive his rage, fear, and addictions. His childhood had shaped the kind of man he had become. But then Jesus took hold of his life and transformed it. This story is Rieser’s account of what he went through and how he overcame. From being ruled by addictions to cheating to being filled with anger, this true account will encourage you and lift you up as you fully realize the power of prayer. Rieser states that one of the truths of prayer is that prayer is a lifestyle, not a thing we do every now and then. Experience the awesome power of prayer as Rieser comes to realize as a child of God, our Father wants to bless us if we’ll just ask. Rieser learned that God is more interested in our worship than in our prayer lists. He wants us to pray about our needs and wants, but He wants to hear our praise and worship as well. Sometimes God will speak to us and ask us to speak to another. Rieser tells of one time he was sharing his testimony and God wanted him to go speak to a kid there. He didn’t want to go, but eventually he did. Below is what he had to say about the incident: “What an honor to be asked by a loving Father to deliver a message to a hurting boy. In disobedience I had resisted, but when I finally let God use me, He did what he does best—ministered to an aching heart. I know I could have repented of my disobedience and God would have forgiven me. But by disobeying I would have missed a great opportunity to run an errand for the king of kings.” When you are obedient to God, God can use you above your wildest dreams. God wants to bless us; we just have to ask and have to be obedient to His will. Read Rieser’s story and be blessed and encouraged!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Stress Test By: Richard Mabry

Matt Newman is a doctor at the wrong place at the wrong time. As his life slowly unravels, Sandra Murray, a lawyer, is there to help pick up the pieces. But can they figure out who is out to get him before it’s too late? Someone is going to great lengths to see him dead. Who is it and why do they want Matt out of the picture? This story will keep you turning the pages until the end. What happens when you are a lawyer and a Christian? Sandra must come to grips with her profession and her Christian walk. How can she defend people who may not be innocent? She believes that everyone deserves the best possible defense. Matt hasn’t prayed in a long time. But, with his life falling to pieces around his ears, he figures he’d better start. He is kidnapped, escapes, but then is accused of murder and arrested on a drug charge. Along the way, it seems only God and Sandra are on his side. Matt confesses to his brother Joe that he thinks God is mad at him for ignoring him over the years. Joe tells him, “Even when you’re ignoring Him, He’s not ignoring you.” This is one of the best medical suspense stories I’ve read in a long time. You will love this book with Mabry’s descriptions of the crime scenes, the evidence trails, and following Matt’s case from beginning to end as Sandra investigates the charges and Matt works in the emergency room when he’s not in jail. Unexpected twists take you through Matt’s journey, interwoven with faith truths and discoveries. Can Matt leave it in God’s hands and not worry? Can he trust that God is in control? Matt learns it is hard to do that on the best of days, but with the days he’s been having, it gets easier knowing there is someone on his side helping him to overcome. I look forward to reading more stories by Richard Mabry!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Deadly Devotion By: Sandra Orchard

This is the first book in the Port Aster Secrets series and the first book I have read by Sandra Orchard. If you are looking for a great murder mystery, look no further. I loved this murder, suspense, romance, who-dun-it story! From the first, you are trying to solve the mystery of who killed Kate Adam’s friend Daisy Leacock. I had an idea of who it might be, but none of the clues really led you there. Kate goes to the police and talks with Tom Parker about reopening the case into her friend’s murder. He tells her it is a closed case; his supervisor tells him it is a closed case. Other people get upset because she is investigating the murder and getting too close to the truth. But who is worried she will figure it out? Edward, who isn’t who he says he is, Hank, Parker’s boss, Darryl, husband to Kate’s best friend? Somebody else? Or is it all a figment of Kate’s imagination and Daisy really killed herself and Kate just needs to accept it? Tom helps Kate investigate, but he is going against his boss’ orders. Can he keep Kate safe? I loved the Jaws’ theme (Tom’s boss says this: “I got a call from the mayor this morning. Seems Miss Adams complained about our handling of the Leacock case. With tourist season around the corner, the mayor doesn’t want rumors of unsolved murders tarnishing the town’s reputation.” At another point, Tom reflects that his prime suspects were switching up faster than ducks in a shooting gallery. That pretty much sums up the story! You’ll think you know who the killer is, but then you’ll rule them out! This is a great story by a wonderful author and I can’t wait to read more. If you love a great mystery, you will love this book! I received this copy free from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fired Up By Mary Connealy

I thoroughly loved this book by Mary Connealy! Fired Up is the second in the series. You do not need to read the books in order, but it helps to know what has happened to the characters in the previous story to understand why they act like they do in this one. The characters are believable, lovable, fallible, and engaging. I’m hoping there is another one to follow up with Vince. How far does someone have to go to be unforgivable? Glynna’s two previous husbands would be two prime candidates; but can God’s love help Glynna, and especially her son Paul, forgive the people in their past so they can enjoy the future God has for them? Fired Up is Glynna and Dare’s story. But it also encompasses Paul’s story. He is Glynna’s son and he has had a rough time with the men Glynna has picked as husbands up to this point. He is having a hard time reconciling his past to accommodate his mother’s future. According to him, his mother doesn’t need a man in her life; she has him. That’s all she needs. Can Dare convince Paul that he isn’t like the men that he’s known in the past and that he can trust him to take care of them and not hurt his mother? Will Dare be around long enough to convince Paul to trust him and Glynna to marry him? Someone is trying to kill him, but who is it? Is Paul out to kill him so he can’t marry his mother? Fired Up is a great western romantic suspense read that will keep you turning the pages and thinking about the characters long after your done. Forgiveness is more than letting the person who did you wrong get off scot-free. “The forgiveness is more for you. It does a lot of damage to carry hate around inside.” You will love this powerful story of forgiveness and love!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stalker in the Shadows By: Camy Tang

Another great read by Camy Tang. I love her work! Monica Grant has a stalker that wants her to stop plans for the free children’s clinic she wants to open. Shaun O’Neill’s sister was killed and he believes it was the same man that is stalking Monica. As Monica’s bodyguard, now he can catch that killer and put him where he belongs. But will his preconceived notions be right on target, or get Monica killed? The suspense kept me turning the pages to see who the stalker was going to go after next. I laughed out loud, shivered, and cringed at some of the “gifts” Monica received from her stalker. If you receive a long, white florist box, and you don’t know who it is from, be careful opening it! But it’s all contained in this book, so you can read without danger, except to startle you as your read, and keep you reading late into the night to finish the book! Trying to read people is a hard craft to learn. Some people you can read right off; others take a little longer to figure out. Monica and Shaun are on opposing sides as they try to figure out who her stalker is. The same is true with trying to please someone. Monica wants to make her daddy proud, but her Heavenly Father is already proud of her just the way she is. As Aunt Becca states, “Jesus loves you, and His love makes you worthwhile. When you follow God’s will for you, you’re valued not because of what specifically you’re doing. You’re valued because you’re doing God’s work.” Monica has to learn to please God first. She can’t control how her father will feel about her, but she can live her life pleasing to God and that makes her valued in His eyes. If you love romantic suspense filled with unexpected twists and turns, you will love this book by Camy Tang!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Formula for Danger By: Camy Tang

If you like romance and suspense you will love this book by Camy Tang! Someone is trying to steal Rachel Grant’s scar-reducing cream formula and they will go to any length to get it, even killing people who get in the way. What can Rachel do to prevent them from getting it? Who can she trust? Edward Villa has agreed to watch out for her, but can Rachel trust him? Will she allow him to become a target? Rachel is working to gain the approval of her father. He is harder on her than her sisters; he expects more out of her and is never satisfied. As she’s trying to live up to his expectations, or her perception of them, will she push Edward away? He used to be a good friend, but then he started distancing himself. If her own father treats her this way, how can she expect God to be satisfied with her? Edward’s father worked all the time, canceling family events at a moment’s notice. Now that Rachel is doing the same thing, he can’t trust her with his heart, so he backs away. Edward tells her she thinks more about what her father thinks of her than what God thinks of her. Can she be secure in her confidence in Christ’s love before it is too late? Formula for Danger has many twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages. The romance, suspense, and the truth of God’s love are interwoven throughout the pages. Pick up this book today for a great suspenseful and encouraging read!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Though My Heart Is Torn By: Joanne Bischof

This is the second book in this series. I could not put this book down! I connected with Lonnie and Gideon in book one and it didn’t stop in this book! Their heart may have been torn, but so was mine. I could not believe what was happening and what they were going through. Rarely have I ever gotten so attached to a character, much less two of them, that I could not wait to read the next book in the series. That’s where I am with this one. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book. Joanne Bischof does an excellent job of telling a story and incorporating characters that you will care about and pull for. Lonnie and Gideon O’Riley were joined in a shotgun wedding in book one, Be Still My Soul. In this book, Though My Heart Is Torn, we find out that Gideon is still married to his first wife! How can that be? The ruse is believable and this story takes off again. Lonnie and Gideon are separated. Gideon is reunited with his first wife, Cassie Allan. Can Gideon just take his heart back and give it to Cassie? We find it isn’t that easy. Gideon and Lonnie must figure out how to fall out of love with each other and move on with their lives without each other. Can they do this while holding onto their faith in God? Can they hold on and wait to see what God has in store for them? Sometimes waiting is the hardest part. Does Cassie get what she wanted out of Gideon? Can Lonnie move on without Gideon in her life, especially once she meets the new reverend? You’ll have to read this book to find out! Once you finish this one, you will not be able to wait to read the next one! Great job Joanne Bischof! I cannot wait to read more of your books!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Be Still My Soul By: Joanne Bischof

Be Still My Soul is Joanne Bischof’s debut novel. You’d never know it by reading this story! From page one, I was hooked and couldn’t put this book down until I finished it. Lonnie Sawyer and Gideon O’Riley are forced to marry. This is 19th century Appalachia and Gideon did steal a kiss. Even though they don’t love each other and Gideon doesn’t want to be married, Lonnie must learn to trust Gideon and Gideon must learn to love Lonnie. But, can Lonnie’s faith help Gideon come to terms with his new life and added responsibility? Not if Gideon’s old life keeps coming back to haunt him! Just when Lonnie thinks she can trust Gideon, something happens to push Gideon right back where he was. Read this truly amazing tale of two very different people and how they learn to trust in each other, God, and along the way, fall in love. Lonnie must have peace in her soul while Gideon fights his demons; however, Gideon needs peace to realize what he has before he loses it all. But, will it be a happily ever after or a never after? Be Still My Soul continues on in the second book of the series, Though My Heart Is Torn. If you love a great romantic tale of a hastily arranged marriage by the bride’s father that follows all the ups and downs of making that marriage work, you will love this story. You will be captured on page one and not turned lose till you finish. All the surprise twists will have you turning the pages, crying and laughing at the antics of these two characters. This is the love story to equal Scarlett and Rhett in Gone With the Wind. You won’t be disappointed! I cannot wait to read more by this debut author.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Popular By: Tindell Baldwin

I decided to read this book by Tindell Baldwin due to the subject matter. The first sentence on the back of the book captured my attention and I had to read it. “All I was asking for at fifteen was to belong, to be loved, and to be a part of something.” My big question when I started reading this book was how do you explain to your daughter why they shouldn’t act a certain way or why they shouldn’t do certain things? As Baldwin explains in her book, sometimes answers aren’t so simple. Popular is Baldwin’s memoir. She lived through this. I can only imagine the courage it took to write it. From addictions to alcohol, drugs, and sex to giving her life to God, this book will touch your heart and encourage you as you read what she struggled with and how she overcame. Her explanation of why sex outside of marriage doesn’t work: there’s no commitment to back up the gift of intimacy. Without the commitment, there’s emptiness. With open honesty, painful truthfulness, and a little bit of irony, Baldwin tells her life story to be an inspiration to others—to keep others from following in her path, to help them understand that God asks us to be different not because He wants us to suffer, but to keep us from the alternative. Teenagers are too often left behind. Nobody wants to find out why they act like they do. Each one has a story and each one just wants to know they are loved. Their crowd believes that parents shouldn’t have any control; they should be able to do as they please without any restrictions. Thanks for this book and the healing I know it will bring to teenager girls and adults as well.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rosemary Cottage By: Colleen Coble

I loved this book by Colleen Coble! Rosemary Cottage is the second in a series. Tidewater Inn is the first; you do not need to read the first one to enjoy this one. If you love mystery, suspense, and romance you will love this book! How well do you know your friends, your family? What you don’t know, may surprise you. Amy Lange and Curtis Ireland are trying to figure out why someone killed Amy’s brother Ben and Curtis’ sister Gina. As they dig deeper, they get closer to getting themselves killed. Who resorted to murder to keep Ben and Gina from talking? What are they afraid Curtis and Amy will find out? No matter what is in your past, God will forgive you. There’s always a way of redemption. This is a key theme that runs through this book. We must forgive others as God forgives us. Can Curtis and Amy let the past go, regardless of what they find out? Or will they let it hold them back from a future together? You’ll have to read the book to find out! The characters in this book are memorable characters that you can relate to, even the secondary ones. Rosemary Cottage becomes a place you’ll want to go visit, maybe even move to. The people and place become real as you read. The mystery and suspense will keep you turning the pages. I now want to go back and read Tidewater Inn and I can’t wait for the next book in this series to come out!! I received this book free from Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for a review.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Rain Shadow By: Cheryl St. John

Anton Neubauer is looking for a wife, but not just any wife. He wants one who can cook, clean, and be a mother to his son. Rain Shadow is the exact opposite of what he is looking for. At the age of 3 1/2, Rain Shadow was rescued from a wrecked wagon train by Two Feathers, an Indian with the Wild West Show. She cannot find true happiness until she finds out who she is and who her family is. Nineteen years later, Rain Shadow and her son Slade are part of the Wild West Show. Slade is in a train wreck traveling with the Wild West show to their winter quarters and is taken to Anton’s house to recuperate. Once Rain Shadow realizes where her son is, she can’t leave him. How far will guilt, shame, and grief rule Anton and Rain Shadow’s decisions? Can they get past their beliefs that they are no good for each other? Anton decides to marry Rain Shadow to protect her from the father of her child. He figures what would be the harm in marrying her to protect her and her child until the danger passes? He’s not attracted to her; she’s not the wife material he’s looking for. However, can he remember that when they are married? “She was reminded of the calm before a storm, those minutes of heavy, oppressive stillness before wind gusted and rain poured from the skies in torrents. A volatile undercurrent passed between them.” You won’t want to miss this amazing story! Rain Shadow is filled with passion, bravery, and shame. She can’t get over her past. Anton will never forgive himself for his previous wife’s death. Now that he needs a mother for his son, he has the perfect one picked out. But where does that leave Rain Shadow? Rain Shadow is the second book in a series by Cheryl St. John. Heaven Can Wait is the first in this series. It is not necessary to read these in order, but you will want to read the first one to get the complete story of Anton and Emily. I thoroughly enjoyed Rain Shadow. Sometimes true love comes when you least expect it, wrapped differently than you ever thought possible. You won’t be disappointed with this story!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Heaven Can Wait By: Cheryl St. John

I loved this book by Cheryl St. John. Just because you’re different doesn’t mean you don’t have worth. But, how far do you let pride take you before you realize it’s wrong? Lydia Baker notices Jakob Neubauer, an Outsider right before a fire breaks out in her bakery. He saves her and captures her heart in the process. Her father disowns her when she decides to marry Jakob against his wishes. Can she trust Jakob with her heart even though he’s an Outsider? Lydia must learn that just because someone is different, doesn’t mean something good can’t come from it. Can she be secure in Jakob’s love for her, or will she believe the lies someone tells her without thinking through what they’re saying? Will she let pride ruin what she has found with Jakob, or will she learn to trust her heart? Emily’s mother was always looked down on by the respectable women of the city. Then, she saw the ad in the newspaper that Anton Neubauer was looking for a bride. By marrying him she could now become respectable. She feels like she doesn’t fit in with his family, however. Instead of talking about her feelings, she lets pride get in the way and takes matters into her own hands, not realizing until it’s too late that her actions affect the people around her. Due to pride, Lydia’s father refuses to let her see her family. She must sneak back to see her mother and grandmother. His pride won’t let him accept Jakob for the man she loves. He punishes himself by letting pride rule. As events unfold, will he realize his mistakes or continue punishing those he loves? Jakob must teach Lydia how to love, as her family never touched or hugged. She doesn’t understand the feelings she has for her husband and thinks it is wrong to love him. Heaven Can Wait is a sweet story of finding and expressing love to the ones around you, and sometimes having to overcome pride to let their true feelings show. Always say I love you and be yourself. Don’t let pride rule your actions. Heaven Can Wait is a book I will read over and over.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Last Chance for Justice By Kathi Macias

If you love a great mystery, you will absolutely love this book! Kathi Macias tells a great story that hooks you in and keeps you reading. Sometimes change is good for us. However, Lynn Myers doesn’t like change, or surprises. She must learn to lean on God in the midst of the changes occurring in her life. Thirty-five years ago she left her hometown to get married. First her husband dies and now her brother has died, and Lynn and her daughter Rachel must return to her hometown to settle his estate. But, what happens when her daughter decides she might want to stay? Can they solve the mystery Lynn’s brother was working on before he died? The characters in this book come to life and you’ll want to live in this hometown. Rachel meets John the youth pastor and Hayden the accountant. Both want her attention. Can they help solve the mystery of the missing money? I would love to read more in this series! Does Rachel decide to stay here to live? Will Lynn move back as well? Pick up this great book, Last Chance for Justice by Kathi Macias. See if you can solve the mystery before Lynn and Rachel do!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jennifer By Dee Henderson

The O’Malleys are a series by Dee Henderson. This book, Jennifer, is the story behind the story of Jennifer O’Malley. She is part of a family known as the O’Malleys who grew up in an orphanage and became a family. I now want to go back through and reread the series! Jennifer is amazing, loving, hard-working, and curious about God, now that Tom Peterson has introduced them. Jennifer is a pediatric oncologist who works with children who have cancer. She is their rock and their hope in a scary time. But what will happen when Jennifer experiences that same dark time? Will her fledgling faith have enough roots to support her? Will she let Tom stay and help her or will she push him away? If you enjoy the O’Malley series or if this is your first introduction, you will love this book!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Son John By Kathi Macias

How well do you really know someone? Even your own family? My Son John is a haunting tale of a mother’s worst nightmare. Liz Peterson receives word that her mother has died. But there’s more. She finds out that she was murdered. After the police question her and her family, Liz finds out that her son John has been arrested for the crime. Life as she has known it ceases to exist. Where is God when tragedy strikes and everyone has deserted you and you feel so alone and incapable? How can Liz go on living life knowing her son has killed her mother? Can Liz continue to love her son in spite of his murderous act? Mercy, grace, love, and hope resonant throughout this unforgettable story of forgiveness. My Son John should come with a warning. I cried, laughed, felt the mother’s pain, and absorbed the feeling of grace and forgiveness that just lifted off each page. Love no matter what, no matter how they turn out, no matter what they do, just keep on loving. What wonderful inspiration, and for it to come from Liz’s father who is in a nursing home and doesn't remember anyone was definitely word from God in Liz’s time of need. Isn’t this how God loves us? Unconditionally, no matter what. The whole time I was reading this book, the song Forgiveness by Matthew West played in my mind. I cannot wait to read more books by Kathi Macias. She does a superb job of intertwining Liz, her husband Charles, and their daughter Sarah’s reactions and journey from learning John has committed murder to acceptance and forgiveness. You must have faith—trust in God no matter what.

Monday, June 10, 2013

When Mockingbirds Sing By: Billy Coffey

Faith, sacrifice, hope, and loss are major elements in this story. The Rainbow Man speaks to Leah Norcross, a child. He sings to her and tells her to draw pictures. Why can’t anyone else see him? Can you believe something you can’t see? What if someone draws a picture? Does that make it any more real? Leah tries hard to make the people of Mattingly understand something is happening, but they won’t listen. They try to run her and her family out of town because of Leah’s drawings that she says the Rainbow Man told her to draw. Leah’s first drawing foretells something happening, and it comes to pass. The town minister, Reggie Goggins, fears God is speaking to her instead of through him. Then, her second drawing is filled with so much darkness, people don’t know whether to believe her, fear her, or dismiss her view of the future. Once you start this book, you won’t be able to put it down. You won’t even remember you’re reading a book. I felt like I was watching a Hitchcock or Stephen King movie. The characters come to life on the page and wrap you up in their story. Barney Moore and his wife Mabel are the first to experience Leah’s foretelling. But since that came true, does that mean the darkness in the second drawing will come true as well? Leah’s father, Tom Norcross, doesn’t believe in God, but then he sees something happen right before his eyes that makes him know Leah is telling the truth. But, how do you convince others of something they are afraid of, can’t see, and don’t want to hear about? Sometimes it’s the littlest among us that have the most faith. See how Leah changes a town with her faith while they suffer loss as the destruction engulfs them. Will the sacrifices some of the town members have to make give room to the faith they will need to overcome? Is the Rainbow Man God-like or is he something else? You’ll have to read the book to find out! I look forward to reading more stories by Billy Coffey! This was a great read and a definite read for anyone who loves suspense-filled novels with real characters and vivid descriptions. I received this book free from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Home Run By: Travis Thrasher

Cory Brand is a major league baseball player. He has run from his past to embrace a future that is slipping away from him. Cory can’t accept who he is based on his past and the circumstances that have made him the man he is today. His father was an alcoholic and had anger issues. That has passed down to Cory as well. He finds that you can’t hide from your past, but you can control how you react to your past. JT and Celebrate Recovery try to teach him how to forgive his past and to let God control his future. Will Cory Brand realize before it is too late that he is powerless without God, but with His help he can find a freedom from his pain and his habits? Or, will he lose the only things that matter to him, his family and his gift for hitting home runs? Cory and Emma dated in high school. When she told him she was pregnant, he jumped at his chance to play for the big leagues. Now, back home holds memories he can’t come home and face. The old barn when Cory’s father held batting practice, his brother Clay whom he tried protecting from his father’s anger, and the child he never saw. Travis Thrasher does an amazing job of portraying real-life characters that you can relate to and pull for. Habits can be hard to break; pain can be hard to accept. But with God, and taking it one day at a time, you can overcome. Home Run is filled with encouragement and support. Hearing the stories at the Celebrate Recovery meetings, reading the encouragements of God’s forgiveness and grace, and realizing these characters are not perfect—just like in real life—make this a must read book. Home Run will make you cry, laugh, sigh, gasp, and cheer from page one to the end. I look forward to reading more books by Travis Thrasher. I received this book from in return for my honest opinion.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Greater By: Steven Furtick

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book. I expected to be motivated to be more than I was before I read the book, but I didn’t know what that would entail. This book, Greater, has changed how I look at things. In the beginning, Furtick states, “I want you simply to ask the Lord, in this moment, to begin to open your eyes—by faith—and help you perceive that He has greater things in store for your future.” Do you know what God wants you to be doing for Him? Do you know the kind of life God has in store for you? If not, this book is for you. God is looking for people who are willing to listen to Him and move when He says. Are you willing? This book will show you how to have: The confidence to know that nothing is impossible with Him The clarity to see the next step He’s calling you to take The courage to do anything He tells you to do See the impossible become possible. Take the first step, and God will meet you there in ways you never expected. The study questions at the end make this a great study book for one on one study or a group study. I just wish I had found this book sooner. For confirmation, the very weekend I was reading this book, a preacher preached his sermon on the topic Good Enough. Topics in this book were brought out in his sermon. Yes, it is time for me to step out in faith and do what God has called me to do! Pick up this book today and watch your life be transformed in God.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Rare Earth By: Davis Bunn

Rare Earth is an adventurous page turner revealing what happens when once-obscure minerals are discovered in Africa. How far will the Chinese go to retain the monopoly on these rare earths? Marc Royce finds out—all the way. What does it mean to be a hero? For most, it is to be called a great man. For Marc Royce, it is the true meaning—sacrifice. He is brought in as an accountant to audit a relief organization in Africa at a Kenyan refugee camp. Serge Korban is a medical technician who has been kidnapped and is presumed dead. Kitra Korban is his sister and is a nurse. They were working together in Africa at this refugee camp when he was abducted. A conversation in the beginning between Royce and Kitra set up the novel, “Think about it. I have been inserted into a critical situation. After an investigation that has stretched across three continents. No matter how much you love your brother, even you have to accept that more is at stake than one man’s disappearance.” Once I read this sentence, I was hooked on the book and wanted to see what was going on. A volcano could erupt at any time. Who can Royce trust to figure out what is going and why and who is involved? Lodestone employees, camp officials, church elders, UN officials, who can be trusted? Royce must find out in order to put his plan into motion to save the refugees, their villages, and protect the rare earths from getting into the wrong hands. And all has to be accomplished before the clock stops ticking. After reading this book, I will be looking for more Davis Bunn books! If you enjoy a heart-stopping thriller with page turning action, you will love this book! The descriptions of the scene in the hotel room where Royce is hiding from his attackers, the story of the baobab tree, and the final phase of going after the enemy, are a priceless piece to the story and are a pleasure to see happening as I read the book. I received this book free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Swept Away By Mary Connealy

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review. What do you do when the family you are in beats you? See what happens when a group of friends band together to seek justice in the Old West. Ruthy MacNeil’s parents died and Ma and Pa Reinhardt take her in to do all their chores and marry their son Virgil. They are headed west in a wagon train when they try to cross a river and are swept away. Only Ruthy survives. Luke Stone’s father was killed and Flint Greer has taken over his ranch while he was gone. Now that Luke is back, he is after justice and getting his ranch back. But how can he do that with all the gunfighters Greer has hired watching who comes and goes? Luke’s friends Jonas Cahill the parson, Vince Yates the lawyer, Dare Rikerthe doctor, and Big John are willing to help Luke, but will the whole town be destroyed in the process? And what should Luke do with Ruthy now that he has saved her from the Reinhardts and the river? She’s the workingest woman he’s ever seen, but is she the woman for Luke? Greer took over Mr. Stone’s ranch and then decided to find a wife. He marries Glynna but soon starts beating her and scaring her kids. How can Glynna escape with her life and keep her kids safe? Dare has been called to the ranch twice to tend to Glynna’s injuries. He finally realizes she isn’t clumsy but is being beaten. Can he help her and the kids escape as he helps Luke get his ranch back? If you enjoy a great Christian romance set in the old West this is the story for you! I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories in this series. Mary Connealy blends humor, faith, romance, and friendship into this series. By the time you finish this first book, you will have found new friends!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Difference You Make By: Pat Williams

I received this book from TBCN in exchange for a review. I was excited to get to read this book. The subtitle says it all: Changing Your World Through the Impact of your Influence. You have been influenced by many things; you have influence. How can you be an influence? Read this book to find out! This book is about Pat Williams and his battle with multiple myeloma, his position in professional sports, and his journey as a father. This book gives you tips on how to use your influence wisely. You can influence others by the way you treat them, you words, and accepting responsibility for your impact on others. There are sections in this book on the influence of our actions, words, and how to be a Christian of influence. Once you finish this book, you will understand how to be a true influencer: If we truly want to influence our world and the people around us, we must begin with prayer. The last quote in the book is the best: The difference you make tomorrow begins with the decisions you make today. For encouragement and inspiration, check this book out today!

When the Heart Heals By: Ann Shorey

I received this book from TBCN in exchange for a review. This is the first book I have read by Ann Shorey; I will be looking for more! She captured me on page one and I didn’t want to stop reading until I had finished When the Heart Heals. Rosemary Saxon used to be a nurse during the Civil War and then she moved to Noble Springs, Missouri. Elijah Stewart is the doctor in town and Rosemary decides she needs to find a job. She goes to Elijah hoping he will hire her as his nurse. She has the skills required, but during this time women are looked down upon as nurses. Some of the older people still feel like there is no place in medicine for women in any capacity. Will Elijah give her the chance she needs? What happens when Rosemary is threatened? She receives a note from a stranger, finds tracks of someone in her yard, and her actions come under scrutiny by her employer. Will Rosemary listen or do as she pleases? You will thoroughly enjoy this book! Rosemary and Elijah are very likable characters; both are headstrong and think they know best. Their bantering keeps you shaking your head, wondering how they could ever get along. The plot keeps you turning the page to see what is going to happen next. This book is for anyone who loves a great story. I cannot wait to read more by Ann Shorey.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Shattered By: Dani Pettrey

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a review. Shattered grabbed me from page one and wouldn’t let go! The characters are fully developed and the plot is very suspenseful. The evidence presented is enough to have Reef McKenna arrested; how can his sister prove his innocence? Reef McKenna is arrested for killing Karli Davis. His sister Piper knows he didn’t do it. Deputy Landon Grainger is a friend of the family, but he believes the evidence will prove Reef’s guilt or innocence, regardless of how this affects Piper’s feelings toward him! Landon grew up thinking people lie; evidence doesn’t. Can he learn to trust the people he loves; can he learn to trust God? Piper must learn trust as well. When she sees Becky in Landon’s house, can she trust Landon that nothing happened, or will she trust the evidence? Shattered takes you on an adventure to prove Reef’s innocence. Why was Reef found standing over Karli’s body with the murder weapon in his hand? Who wanted Karli dead? What happened to Karli’s mother? Each clue leads Landon and Piper further into Canada’s backcountry and closer to each other. Can they learn to trust each other? If you are looking for a great suspenseful mystery that will keep you turning the pages, this is the book for you! Submerged is the first book in the series, but you can read this book as a stand-alone. There are more books coming in the series. I cannot wait to read more books by this author!

Full Disclosure By: Dee Henderson

This is another amazing book by Dee Henderson! From the first sentence, “I’m pulling into the scene now,” you are hooked and can’t put the book down. Special Agent Paul Falcon has been trying to solve a case for many years. Midwest Homicide Investigator, Ann Silver, delivers some information that will help break open this case. But who exactly is Ann? What are her secrets? Paul wants to find out. Dee does a superb job of weaving this story together with Paul trying to catch someone off the Top Ten Most Wanted list. Step by step, follow Paul as he solves this murder investigation. Intrigue, suspense, romance, and faith in God are all the components needed for a great story. Paul realizes several of his friends and family know Ann. He finds out he has to get Ann to trust him so he can get past the friendship stage to something more permanent. At one point, he shows up at her house. He tells her, “I show up when friends move.” He’s letting her know he’ll be there for her. Do we take time for our friends? Or do we take them for granted? Dee does an awesome job of rounding out the characters and bringing the story to life. And of course at the end, there is a twist you won’t believe. Be prepared to not put this book down until you’ve read the last sentence!